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Pre-boarding - who qualifies now?

New Arrival

Has Southwest changed the pre-board process? Traveling over the Christmas holidays, through the San Jose, Oakland, and Burbank airports, I saw that all "A-Listers" were pre-boarding (the A1-A15 spots were empty). There were at least 15 to 20 of these boarders at each of these airports, in addition to wheel chair users.  Didn't these people used to board at the end of the A group? 

 

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Re: Pre-boarding - who qualifies now?

Top Contributor

@Suebedoo85 wrote:

Has Southwest changed the pre-board process? Traveling over the Christmas holidays, through the San Jose, Oakland, and Burbank airports, I saw that all "A-Listers" were pre-boarding (the A1-A15 spots were empty). There were at least 15 to 20 of these boarders at each of these airports, in addition to wheel chair users.  Didn't these people used to board at the end of the A group? 

 


 

Pre boarders, by definition, get on the plane before anyone who boards in boarding pass order.

 

As far as a-listers boarding "early," they board before both b group and families. I suspect that is what you saw. 

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Re: Pre-boarding - who qualifies now?

New Arrival

The A-Listers were 'with' the pre-board group, not behind A group and prior to B group

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Re: Pre-boarding - who qualifies now?

Top Contributor

I suspect that wasn't the case, as that would mean that some A-Listers boarded ahead of other A-Listers in their regular assigned positions (after Business Select but before those with EarlyBird Check-In.) 

 

When I've witnessed a large group boarding ahead of everyone else, it's been "through" passengers who should have remained onboard, but were unable to due to a plane change. Southwest will board those passengers after or along with the PreBoards (as is only fair).

 

There are some other examples of why passengers may be boarded before regular boarding, but it's unlikely they were just A-Listers. A-Listers already receive premium boarding positions, so there's not really much benefit to them boarding slightly earlier than their assigned positions. It doesn't make sense. 😉

 

A separate issue is that, unique to Southwest due to their open boarding system, some able bodied people abuse the pre boarding accommodation, leading to higher numbers of pre boarders than you would find on a carrier who offers assigned seating. 

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Re: Pre-boarding - who qualifies now?

New Arrival

I'll restate my experience -- at each of these three airports, the SW gate representative announced over the loudspeaker, that 'all' pre-boarders line up near the jetway entrance. This included people in wheelchairs, "A-Listers", and others needing extra time to board.